• No Compelling Evidence ‘No Child’ Worked
    The only way to end employee domination of education is to fundamentally change the system: instead of having politics control schooling, let parents control education money so they can take their children out of schools they don’t like and put them into those they do. Don’t force them to undertake the endless, hopeless warfare of having to form coalitions, try to get politicians’ ears, spur politicians to move and, if they can ever get decent changes, then force them to constantly fight to keep the reforms against opponents with full-time lobbyists and political machines. No, let them vote with their feet, right away, and get their children the education they need.
  • The Dysfunction of Non-Profit Organizations
    Perhaps the real problem is that gigantism among non-profits crowds out the possibility of more efficient operations by profit-seeking organizations.  An overly large non-profit sector grabs more talented people who could instead be working more efficiently in the private sector.  Big non-profits also compete with services provided by profit-seeking organizations but their tax-advantage allows them to do so more inefficiently.
  • Tennessee, don’t put the breaks on reform!
    In order to ensure that meaningful reforms of teacher evaluation systems occur throughout our country, it is paramount that Tennessee holds its position as a trailblazer and does not falter in the face of opposition.
  • Waiver will be key to schools’ progress
    Tennessee’s waiver application proposes an accountability system that would measure districts and schools based on their ability to grow student achievement from their current baselines. Additionally, districts would be measured partially on their ability to gradually close achievement gaps between different groups of students, providing additional focus on the need to grow student achievement particularly for minority students, economically disadvantaged students and students with disabilities.
  • Students adjust to more work, ‘real-world’ projects with ease at STEM Academy
    Though the school stresses science, technology, engineering and math, it strives to better prepare students for college and life through nontraditional means, said Becky Ashe, STEM’s principal and former director of curriculum for Knox County Schools.
  • Rejecting Union Curbs Leaves Ohio in ‘Fiscal Crisis’
    “It’s a sad reality that Ohio and all states are in a power struggle with teacher’s unions,” said Moe. “The average teacher certainly cares about kids and about having quality schools,” but legislators and school boards must “struggle with unions because unions are not in business to do what is right for students or to ensure quality schools.” Instead, unions fight for self-preservation by increasing membership and protecting members’ jobs, Moe said. They concern themselves with job perks for adults like wages, benefits, and work rules, because this ensures their longevity. “All these decisions that should be made on the basis of what is best for children, but are not,” Moe said.
  • Alabama Common Core Opponents Slam Standards in Meeting
    “Making this country competitive was one reason for developing national standards,” she said. “But this goal was quietly abandoned … in favor or a single set of mediocre standards for all students.”
  • Tennessee submits 75-page No Child Left Behind waiver application
    Huffman said the state had focused the “majority” of its energy on the second area of differentiated recognition, accountability and support, because many standards related to the other areas had already been considered and addressed through earlier Race to the Top reforms. “There are multiple categories of schools that need to be identified as part of this application,” Huffman said, explaining the process by which individual schools would be included in the application process. “We have created our preliminary list by looking at test results from test taking across the state last year.”
  • Kevin P. Chavous: Congress Backslides on School Reform
    A funny thing happened on the way to reauthorizing the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, the sweeping school-reform law better known as No Child Left Behind (NCLB): The debate over reauthorization has spawned a political alliance between the tea party and the teachers unions. These strange bedfellows have teamed up to push for turning teacher-evaluation standards over to the states—in other words, to turn back the clock on educational accountability. Numbers released last year by the Programme for International Student Assessment showed that out of the 34 countries in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the U.S. ranked 14th in reading, 17th in science and 25th in math. U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan called the numbers an “absolute wakeup call for America” and urged that we face the “brutal truth” of our children’s ability to compete in the global arena. Yet Washington deals continue to ensure that the people who stand in front of our nation’s classrooms never have to answer for their students’ performance. he species of monster with the best chance of passage is the so-called Enzi-Harkin bill, which passed the Senate Education Committee last month. It removes from existing law the requirement that states set annual goals tied to the academic performance of children—indeed it sets not a single goal or guideline for academic performance. Instead, it has vague provisions about bullying and parent engagement. These provisions are fine on their own, but are they appropriate in our most important education law that otherwise makes no mention of academic standards? Teacher accountability and parent choice are the most important aspects of any education reform legislation. They are critical to determining what success should look like and to creating a mechanism for remediation when those standards aren’t met. There is not nearly enough within this new bill to ensure that schools are made to answer for their performance. Nor is there enough to ensure that parents have the ability to protest a failing school with their feet. To begin fixing this, all of the current law’s language regarding teacher accountability should be reintroduced into Enzi-Harkin. In addition, the reauthorization bill could buttress the “parent trigger” efforts that allow parents in several states to forcibly transform failing schools through petition drives. But in an election year, it seems unlikely that Congress or the White House will exert the necessary effort. Instead, Washington’s expedient right-left alliance will guarantee one thing: Schools can continue to fail our children—particularly our poorest and most vulnerable children—with impunity. Last month, American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten stated how “glad” she was that her union had found “common cause” with Republicans. If this is what bipartisanship looks like, we’re better off with gridlock.

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